When

January 14, 2018  —  March 10, 2018

Location

Online - Course

Contact Hours

8

Description

Designed for the professional interested in sharpening his or her technical writing ability, “The Art of Writing for Transportation Professionals” focuses on specific skills that can help anyone write more concisely and precisely. From the basics of sentence structures and punctuation to the use of more sophisticated syntax, each week’s lesson will address not only how to construct clear sentences but also why certain sentence structures lend more power to one’s writing. Because all writing must, in the end, satisfy an audience, this course will also cover how to edit, revise, and polish one’s writing, with a special emphasis on email etiquette. I hope to give you the skills to write with confidence and clarity.

Agenda

Week One

  • Topics: Why Writing Matters
    • Introduction to Course
      • Instilling confidence
      • Focus on clarity and precision
    • Understanding and serving your audience
    • Sentence Structures and Choices
  • Assignment: Provide a Writing Sample
    • Write a one-page (250-300 word) description of a typical project you encounter at work.
    • Note: You may substitute a work product that you alone have written for the assigned homework (such as a drainage report, a letter detailing the results of site plan reviews, a letter documenting reasons for waivers and exceptions).
  • Discussion Forum Questions:
    • What do you hope to gain from this course?
    • Describe the sorts of writing tasks you encounter at work.
  • Assessment:
    • Online quiz evaluating student’s ability to determine correct sentence structure.

Week Two

  • Topic: Syntax Matters
    • Punctuation basics (commas, clauses)
    • Expressing direct messages with clear, simple sentences
    • Clarifying logical relationships with complex and compound sentences
  • Assignment:
    • Write a one-page (250-300 word) description. You can describe any object or event that interests you (an interesting building façade, a sunrise, Thanksgiving dinner, etc.) In this document, highlight at least:
      • Two short, clear, simple sentences,
      • Two compound sentences,
      • Two complex sentences, and
      • Two compound-complex sentences.
    • Note: You may substitute a work product that you alone have written for the assigned homework (such as a drainage report, a letter detailing the results of site plan reviews, a letter documenting reasons for waivers and exceptions). If you choose this option, submit both the original document plus a revised document in which you have highlighted at least 5 sentences that you have revised to:
      • Two short, clear, simple sentences,
      • Two compound sentences,
      • Two complex sentences, and
      • Two compound-complex sentences.
    • Discussion Forum Questions:
      • Explain a change you made in your writing assessment
      • Comment on another student’s post
    • Assessment:
      • Online quiz assessing student’s ability to identify simple, compound, and compound-complex.

Week Three

  • Topic: Precision and Clarity
    • Voice (active versus passive)
    • Precise verbs
    • Avoiding nominalizations
    • Related topic: positive phrasing
  • Assignment:
    • Handout #1 is a technical description riddled with the passive voice. Revise it into the active voice.
    • Note: You may substitute a work product that you alone have written for the assigned homework (such as a drainage report, a letter detailing the results of site plan reviews, a letter documenting reasons for waivers and exceptions). If you choose this option, submit both the original document plus a revised document in which you have highlighted at least 5 sentences that you have revised to:
      • Three sentences using the active voice, and
      • Three additional sentences using precise verbs that you are proud of.
    • Discussion Forum Question:
      • Explain a change you made in your writing assessment
      • Comment on another student’s post
    • Assessment:
      • Online quiz evaluating student’s ability to identify passive voice and active voice and to correct nominalizations.

Week Four

  • Topic: Creating more Sophisticated Sentences with Phrases
    • Restrictive/Essential versus Nonrestrictive/Nonessential phrases
    • Participial phrases
  • Assignment:
    • What sort of change would you like to propose to your work place or your job duties? Write a one-page (250-300 word) letter to your superior proposing one of your changes. In this letter, highlight at least:
      • Five sentences using past or present participial phrases.
    • Note: You may substitute a work product that you alone have written for the assigned homework (such as a drainage report, a letter detailing the results of site plan reviews, a letter documenting reasons for waivers and exceptions). If you choose this option, submit both the original document plus a revised document in which you have highlighted at least 5 sentences that you have revised to:
      • Five sentences using past or present participial phrases.
    • Discussion Forum Question:
      • Explain a change you made in your writing assessment
      • Comment on another student’s post
    • Assessment:
      • Online quiz assessing student’s ability to correctly punctuate restrictive and nonrestrictive phrases.

Week Five

  • Topic: Subject-Verb Agreement
    • Intervening prepositional phrases
    • Mismatched subjects (e.g. “The sample and reports” versus “The reports and sample”)
  • Assignment:
    • Handout #3 is a document with multiple writing glitches. Revise it to correct:
      • Four sentences with incorrect subject-verb agreement. Each of these sentences has a prepositional phrase between the subject and verb.
      • Two sentences with participial phrase errors.
      • Four sentence with punctuation errors.
    • Note: You may substitute a work product that you alone have written for the assigned homework (such as a drainage report, a letter detailing the results of site plan reviews, a letter documenting reasons for waivers and exceptions). If you choose this option, submit both the original document plus a revised document in which you have highlighted at least 5 sentences that you have revised. Specifically, highlight:
      • Five sentences with correct subject-verb agreement. Each of these sentences must have a prepositional phrase between the subject and verb.
      • Five sentences in which you have corrected other errors covered in this course.
    • Discussion Forum Question:
      • Explain a change you made in your writing assessment
      • Comment on another student’s post
    • Assessment:
      • Online quiz evaluating student’s ability to determine correct subject-verb agreement.

Week Six

  • Topic: Parallel Structure (including correlatives)
    • Assignment: Write a 250-300 word description. You may choose any topic, such as the view from your favorite window, the process of making something, the sound of a waterfall, etc. The only restriction is that your description must include five sentences that correctly use parallel structure. Please highlight these sentences.
    • Note: You may substitute a work product that you alone have written for the assigned homework (such as a drainage report, a letter detailing the results of site plan reviews, a letter documenting reasons for waivers and exceptions). If you choose this option, submit both the original document plus a revised document in which you have highlighted at least 5 sentences that you have revised. Specifically, highlight:
      • Five sentences with correct use of parallel structure. Two of these sentences must use correlatives.
    • Discussion Forum Question:
      • Explain a sentence you wrote for your writing assessment
      • Comment on another student’s post
    • Assessment:
      • Online quiz evaluating student’s ability to determine correct subject-verb agreement.

Week Seven

  • Topic: Polishing your Writing
    • Editing techniques (cutting unnecessary words)
    • Parallel Structure
      • Paired clauses
      • Lists
      • Correlatives
    • Assignment:
      • Handout #2 is a document with several sentences suffering from wordiness and parallel-structure errors. Revise it to correct the use of parallel structure.
      • Note: You may substitute a work product that you alone have written for the assigned homework (such as a drainage report, a letter detailing the results of site plan reviews, a letter documenting reasons for waivers and exceptions). If you choose this option, submit both the original document plus a revised document in which you have highlighted at least 10 sentences that you have revised to:
        • Five sentences using parallel structure
        • Five sentences from which you have cut unnecessary words.
      • Discussion Forum Question:
        • Explain a change you made in your writing assessment
        • Comment on another student’s post
      • Assessment:
        • Online quiz evaluating student’s ability to determine correct parallel structure errors and to determine unnecessary words to cut from a sentence.

Week Eight

  • Topic: Your Online Character
    • Email etiquette
    • Include discussion of fonts, color, caps, etc.
  • Assignment:
    • Handout #4 contains five email exchanges in need of revision. Revise each message in light of this week’s lesson.
    • Note: You may substitute a series of five emails you have composed in the course of your work for the assigned homework. How would you revise those messages in light of this week’s lesson? If you choose this option, submit both the original messages plus your revisions.
  • Discussion Forum Questions:
    • Which of the course topics have you found most helpful?
    • Comment on another student’s post
  • Assessment:

Online quiz evaluating student’s ability to spot errors in email etiquette.

Instructor

Rosanne Simeone

Roseanne Simeone: Having earned her doctoral degree in English Language and Literature from the University of Virginia, Rosanne Simeone has taught English at the college and high-school levels. As a member of the University of Virginia’s Department of Science, Technology and Society Department (formerly the Division of Technology, Culture and Communication), she guided engineering students through their first forays into technical writing as well as their fourth-year theses. She taught professional writing at the Institute of Textile Technology, and she served as technical writer and Publications Director for the medical center’s Tissue Adhesive Center. Currently, she teaches Humanities, chairs the Capstone Thesis Committee, and advises the Honor Council at St. Anne’s-Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Registration and Payment

The following registration fees cover the session, all course materials and meals:

Local Government: $100.00
State/Federal: $150.00
Private Industry: $200.00

Click here for UVA TTA's general registration information, cancellation policy, and refund policy. UVA TTA accepts the following credit cards: American Express, VISA, MasterCard, and Discover. Credit card information cannot be taken over the phone. Alternatively, after registering you can print out a voucher to send in with your payment. After you have completed the transaction you will receive an automatically generated email confirming registration and payment if applicable. Final confirmation and instructions will be sent out during the week prior to the class date.

Don't have access to a computer?
to get a paper registration form (PDF). Print it out, complete it, and email, mail or FAX it to our office following the instructions on the form. Include your check or government purchase order with your registration form.Please note that emailed or faxed-in registration forms will be considered as a "provisional booking" until payment is received.For more information, call our office at (434) 982-2897, fax at (434) 982-2856 or email uva-tta@virginia.edu